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Policies and Procedures

SELC Learning Environment Policies and Procedures

The following policies and procedures are designed to ensure SELC provides a service to its clients that is professional, fair, transparent and that maximises their learning and overall positive experience. This is in keeping with our Mission Statement.

NB: SELC is presently in the process of obtaining accreditation to operate as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and some of the sections of this document apply to SELC’s planned future RTO operations.

This Code of Practice serves as a preface to the Policies and Procedures Manual.

Our Mission Statement

SELC provides high quality, personalised language learning opportunities and student services in a dynamic and supportive environment which enables our clients to achieve their individual goals as well as share in a unique multicultural and Australian experience.

The policies set out in the ‘SELC Learning Environment Policies and Procedures’ and introductory ‘Code of Practice’ are fundamental to our operations as an English language school and Registered Training Organisation (RTO). We understand that our registration on the Commonwealth Register of International Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) as an English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) provider and RTO may be withdrawn if we do not honour these obligations.

Legislative Requirements

SELC will comply with all legislative requirements of State and Federal Government, in particular the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act, Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) , Work Place Health and Safety, Workplace Relations, Anti Discrimination and Equal Opportunity legislation.

External Review

SELC has agreed to participate in external monitoring and audit processes as required by VETAB and its delegates. This includes random quality audits, audit following complaint and audit for the purpose of re-registration.

Quality Management Focus

SELC is firmly committed to providing quality training and education services with a strong focus on continuous improvement. We actively seek out and value feedback from trainees, staff members and industry representatives.

Management and Administration

SELC has policies and procedures in place to ensure the application of sound financial and administrative practices. We guarantee the organisation’s sound financial position and safeguard trainee fees until used for training or assessment. We have a fair and equitable refund policy. Trainee records are kept securely and confidentially and are available for trainee perusal on request. SELC also has any relevant insurance necessary for the operational needs of the organisation.

Marketing and Advertising

SELC is committed to marketing its education and training products with integrity, accuracy and professionalism and where ever possible we strive to avoid unclear and ambiguous statements. When providing information on any of our products no false or misleading comparisons are made with any other training or training products.

Training and Assessment Standards

SELC has personnel with appropriate qualifications and experience to deliver the training and facilitate the assessment relevant to the training products offered. All training and assessment will meet the standards set out in the AQTF including Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). At all times adequate training materials will be used to ensure the stated learning outcomes of our courses or training products can be achieved. Appeals procedures are in place for students/trainees who are not satisfied with any element of their course, training and assessment or service provided by SELC.

Course/Training Product Information

This RTO provides accurate, relevant and up-to-date course information for potential students/trainees prior to commencement. This includes:

  • Client selection, enrolment and induction/orientation procedures;
  • Course information, including content and vocational outcomes;
  • Fees and charges, including refund policy and exemptions (where applicable);
  • Flexible learning and assessment procedures;
  • Welfare and guidance services;
  • Appeals, complaints and grievance procedures;
  • Disciplinary procedures;
  • Staff responsibilities for access and equity; and
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) arrangements.

Learning Environment Policies and Procedures

The following ‘Learning Environment Policies and Procedures’ is designed to work alongside and underpin the documents containing specific information about our various courses. These may include:

  • Outlines of course content, delivery methods, materials used and competencies
  • Specific payment and refund policies relating to individual courses
  • Outlines of assessment tasks and general assessment information
  • Course outcomes
  • Information and documents provided at orientation

All SELC staff should be familiar with and work according to the guidelines provided in our policy and procedure documents. If you find that a staff member is unfamiliar with these policies or is taking action outside of or contrary to what is stipulated in the relevant policy documents please bring this to the attention of the staff member(s) or SELC management as soon as possible. Furthermore, if you as a student/trainee are unable to locate or access relevant SELC policy information on our website or in documents provided please contact SELC management about this.

Our main objective is to ensure your educational and overall experience with us is as rewarding and fulfilling as possible and the information contained in these policies and procedures has been designed with this goal in mind.

SELC Grievance/Complaints Procedures for Students

Throughout SELC different staff members have different responsibilities depending on their role within the organisation. You will find that there is always someone to help you with any specific problem you may have. For example, if you are unsure about possible future study pathways you can make an appointment to see our Academic Counsellor or if you have a problem with your homestay you can see our Homestay Coordinator etc.

The person ultimately responsible for the education and training provided by SELC is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Usually our Director of Studies (DoS) can resolve all issues that may arise but if you feel you would like to speak to our CEO you should first speak to the DoS who can arrange a meeting.

The CEO, through the DoS and Director of Administration, has a responsibility to ensure that everyone in the organisation knows what they are doing and are doing it well. It is the CEO that is accountable to the Government Training Authorities for the operation of the organisation.

All SELC staff are committed to excellence in their jobs and any feedback on how we can come closer to achieving this goal is always welcome.

As a CRICOS registered ELICOS provider and RTO, we are required to make sure that we can provide the full range of services and meet the full range of responsibilities with respect to education and training and associated services. With this in mind it is our policy, as part of our commitment to sound business practice, to continually maintain awareness of hindrances to this being accomplished.

SELC management regularly does Risk Assessments to check that we are aware of all and any potential difficulties that might affect the successful delivery of all our education and other services.

By continually assessing and managing risk, we can ensure the ongoing success of our organisation.

We ask all our students, agents, clients, employees and associates to please let us know of anything that might potentially hinder the delivery of our education and training services.

Assessment Review and Appeals Procedure

SELC seeks to prevent general grievances and complaints by ensuring that clients are satisfied with their course, lessons/training sessions, teachers/trainers and its outcomes. In addition to their functional expertise, staff are expected to be fair, courteous, professional and helpful in all dealings with clients. Any complaint about a staff member or program will be treated seriously, investigated thoroughly and dealt with according to the merit of the complaint.

If a student is unhappy with any part of the overall service provided by SELC, both course and non-course related, they have the right to access ‘SELC’s Grievance and Complaints Procedures’.

Depending on the nature of the grievance a client can

  • Talk directly with the person concerned to resolve the problem
  • Approach his/her teacher/trainer(s) for assistance in resolving the problem
  • If the problem is with a trainer then he/she can approach the course coordinator (or appropriate person) for assistance
  • If the problem is not resolved adequately he/she can consult the DoS or RTO Manager and he/she will attempt to resolve the complaint before it becomes a formal procedure. However, if the problem is still not resolved to his/her satisfaction the client must launch a formal written complaint or appeal.

5.1 Procedure for a formal complaint

When launching a formal complaint the client has the right to have another person (nominee) present at this and any ensuing stage of the process

  • The client must put into writing, ideally using the ‘Student Complaint/Grievance Form’, an explanation of the exact nature and reason for the complaint and present this to the DoS. SELC will assist the client to write their complaint in English if needed.
  • the DoS will keep a record of this document and provide the client with a likely timeframe in which an outcome can be achieved
  • The DoS may request a meeting between the client and the other parties involved however, the client is not obliged to attend this meeting.
  • The client should receive a written statement of the outcome and the reasons for this decision within 10 working days of lodging the complaint.
  • If the client is still not satisfied with the result he/she may contact the Overseas Students Ombudsman to pursue the matter further.

Overseas Students Ombudsman:

GPO Box 442, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

Tel: 1300 362 072 (in Australia), +61 2 6276 0111 (outside Australia)

Web: http://www.oso.gov.au/

Access & Equity

6.1 Appeals

All students considering a formal appeal must do so within 30 days of the assessment decision by submitting a ‘Student Assessment Appeals’ form to the Course Coordinator or DoS. Appeals may be made for academic decisions including those relating to:

  • refusal of admission
  • refusal of recognition of prior learning
  • unfair assessment decision
  • incorrect assessment calculation
  • exclusion from an award course
  • failure of assessing organisation to adhere to the principles of access and equity
  • exemption due to compassionate or compelling circumstances

SELC will ensure that any person involved in the matter being appealed is not a member of the Appeals Committee determining the outcome of a review or appeal.

Students must be permitted to attend classes or undertake examinations without prejudice during the appeal process.

6.2 Recording Student Complaints and Appeals

An assessment appeal must be presented to the Course Coordinator or DoS in writing using the ‘Assessment Appeals Form’.

A copy of the submitted ‘Assessment Appeals Form’ and all following documents including the ‘Decision on Assessment Appeal Letter’ must be placed in the ‘Student’s Individual File’ and on the ‘Complaints and Appeals Register’.

6.3 Actioning Student Appeals

Decision Supporting the Student:

  1. Where the appeals process results in a decision supporting the student SELC will within twenty days implement the required corrective/preventative action and advise the student of the outcome.
  2. If the appeal shows that there was an error in calculation, and the student actually made satisfactory course progress (successfully completed more than 50% of the course requirements for that study period), the provider does not report the student, and there is no requirement for intervention.
  3. If the appeals process shows that the student has not made satisfactory progress, but there are compassionate or compelling reasons for the lack of progress, ongoing support must be provided to the student through the provider’s intervention strategy, and the provider does not report the student.

Decision in favour of SELC:

  1. Any decision will automatically be in favour of SELC if the student has chosen not to access the complaints and appeals processes within 30 days of the assessment decision.
  2. Any decision will automatically be in favour of SELC if the student withdraws from the process.
  3. When a decision is made supporting SELC the student must receive a full explanation in writing outlining the final outcome and giving reasons why this decision was reached.
  4. When a decision is made supporting SELC the student must be made aware of their rights to pursue further action through ACPET.
  5. If applicable, when a decision is made supporting SELC, the Secretary of DEST through PRISMS must be notified as soon as practicable of the student not achieving satisfactory course progress.

Anti-Discrimination

At SELC all reasonable steps are taken to ensure you are given an equal opportunity to undertake training and/or assessment. You will be treated equally regardless of your sex, race, religion, impairments (physical, mental or illness), political beliefs, age, marital status, pregnancy or sexual preference.

Should you have special needs or require special equipment due to a physical impairment you should make SELC aware of this as soon as possible by informing the enrolment staff, your teachers/trainers or management. Every effort will be made to accommodate your difficulties or impairment. However, where we are unable to assist you or provide an adequate learning and assessment environment we will endeavour to refer you to an alternative education provider that is better able to meet your specific needs.

SELC aims to provide an environment for work and study where no individual is discriminated against for any reason. If you feel you have been discriminated against or harassed you should fill out and submit the ‘Student Complaint/Grievance Form’. Each and every complaint will be dealt with seriously and sympathetically and confidentiality will be respected at all times.

Any person launching a formal complaint has the right to have another person present at this and any ensuing stage of the process. It is important that you come forward with any complaint you may have as soon as possible after the incident. This will ensure that your rights are protected and that other participants are also not subjected to the same inappropriate behaviour.

Consult the ‘SELC Complaints and Grievances Procedures for Students’ document for further information on the process by which the complaint will be dealt with.

If you are not satisfied with the way in which your grievance was handled you may take it to an outside agency, such as the Anti-Discrimination Board or the Overseas Students Ombudsman.

Overseas Students Ombudsman: GPO Box 442, Canberra ACT 2601
Tel: 1300 362 072 (in Australia), +61 2 6276 0111 (outside Australia)

http://www.oso.gov.au/

Anti-Discrimination Board: Level 4, 175 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000Tel: (02) 9268 5555
http://www.antidiscrimination.gov.au
http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au

Occupational Health & Safety

SELC is committed to a robust health and safety policy. The aim of this policy is to establish procedures, responsibilities and guidelines that will serve to promote a safe and healthy work environment for all SELC employees (including contractors) and students.

Whilst participating in your course you must take responsibility for your own health & safety and that of the equipment provided to you. You should ensure you follow all guidelines related to the handling, repairing, lifting, operating and maintenance of any equipment you use. These guidelines and further information on OHS procedures at SELC can be found in the ‘SELC Occupational Health and Safety Manual’

As part of our OHS Procedures your teachers/trainers are obliged to go over any health and safety issues/procedures with you on your first day at SELC or at the beginning of each course.

Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of SELC to provide a workplace and learning environment free from all forms of sexual harassment. No person, either male or female should be subjected to uninvited and unwelcome sexual overtures or sexually suggestive conduct be it physical, verbal or visual in nature.

Sexual harassment is unlawful within the terms of the Federal and State Equal Opportunity Legislation and may result in the harasser being liable to significant penalties. SELC defines sexual harassment as any physical, verbal or visual sexual conduct that is unwelcome, uninvited or intimidating. It is regarded by SELC as misconduct which may, after due investigation, result in expulsion/dismissal of the offending participant or employee without notice.

Sexual harassment may include:

  • Leering, patting, pinching, touching or unnecessary familiarity
  • Demands for sexual favours
  • Unwelcome comments about a person’s sex life
  • Displays of offensive posters, pictures or graffiti
  • Sexual jokes, suggestive behaviour, sexual innuendo, spoken comments, swearing, offensive telephone calls or obscene gestures

If any such behaviour that you witness or directly experience makes you feel:

  • Offended or humiliated
  • Intimidated or frightened
  • Uncomfortable at work

…then it is against SELC’s policy and needs to be dealt with.

If you experience harassment of this nature there are a number of approaches you may take.

Firstly, if possible, tell the alleged offender that you strongly object to the behaviour and do not want to see it repeated. It may be that the alleged offender is not aware that their behaviour is upsetting or intimidating you and will stop immediately once they are told.

If this does not resolve the situation, or you are not able to do this, you have two options. You can discuss the problem with your trainer/course coordinator or the DoS or if you would prefer you can fill in a ‘Student Complaint Form’ and submit it to SELC management. You can be assured that your complaint will be treated seriously, sympathetically, promptly and in a confidential manner. Consult the ‘SELC Complaints and Appeals Procedures for Students’ document for further information on the process by which the complaint will be dealt with.

A further note of sexual harassment complaints:

In the case of a complaint SELC will remain impartial and complainants and witnesses will not be victimised in any way. However, sexual harassment complaints are a serious matter and where possible complaints need to be fully substantiated as unsubstantiated reports can lead to the complainant being sued for defamation. That being said, if you make a complaint and are acting in good faith, (i.e. not making the complaint out of malice or spite), then you are not likely to be liable for defamation. Therefore, this should not in any way deter you from making a genuine complaint.

Confidentiality

The investigation and resolution of all types of complaints involve serious privacy issues as at times an individual’s mental/physical health, career and livelihood can be at stake. It is not acceptable to participate in spreading rumours.

Any witnesses to an incident or member of investigative staff are advised that the processing of complaints is a matter of the utmost confidentiality. The unnecessary circulation of information concerning a complaint will be regarded as serious misconduct.

Financial Management

12.1 Certification of Accounts

SELC accounts are audited at least annually by a CPA qualified accountant. Any accounting reports are made available on request to the appropriate Government Registering Bodies.

12.2 Payment and Refund Policy

SELC sets out in full our payment and refund policy and procedures in the ‘SELC Conditions of Enrolment’ and all potential students/trainees are obliged to read these before enrolling. This policy and procedure is in accordance with the standards set by the appropriate registering bodies, in NSW this is the Vocational Education and Training Accreditation Board (VETAB).

Refund Policy key points:

  • If SELC is unable to deliver a course in full on the dates advertised students will receive a full refund within two weeks or if they choose can enter another course at SELC. If SELC is unable to place you in a suitable alternative course or provide a full refund your rights to receive the education you paid for will be protected through our membership in the English Australia Tuition Assurance Scheme and the Government ESOS Fund.
  • If SELC judges that your English level isn’t appropriate for your desired course we will place you in an appropriate level course and class. If you choose not enter this course/class it will be judged that you are cancelling your studies and the relevant cancellation fees will apply. SELC has a stringent pre-course English assessment policy and procedures in an attempt to avoid students being disappointed upon arrival if they cannot enter their chosen course.

Administrative and Records Management

13.1 Privacy

SELC respects the privacy of your personal information and only those staff members that need to access your personal information and education/assessment records are allowed to do so. In addition, we ask that all our students/trainees respect the fact that Government auditors may need to check our administration systems and in doing this, they may gain access to information you have provided to us.

If you would like your personal information to be provided back to yourself or given to someone else, you will need to submit a ‘Personal Information Disclosure Form’.

13.2 Retention of Records

  • We will retain for 30 years a record of the Units of Competency and Qualifications that you have achieved.
  • We will retain for 12 months a copy of each individual assessment task submitted by a student and its associated documents. These materials may be used in our assessment moderation procedures.
  • The appeal period for assessment is 30 days from the initial assessment decision.
  • In the case of SELC’s preparation courses for English Language Exams such as Cambridge and IELTS the student is subject to the examination governing body’s policy on assessment records, appeals and reissuing of certificates.

13.3 Enrolment Records

Your enrolment form and our pre-enrolment English assessment procedures provide us with the minimum amount of essential information to ensure that:

  • you meet the general entry requirements for the course you enrol in
  • you meet the English requirements for the course you enrol in. However, onsite placement testing is required to confirm this.
  • we will be able to communicate with you about all aspects of the course as it proceeds
  • you are aware of all the information available about us and about the course you want to enrol in
  • you are aware of our payment and refund policy and procedures
  • we can enter your details on our Qualification Register for the future issuing of qualifications.

Your trainer is required to complete an attendance role for each training session. This is an official document that can be used by Government Registering Bodies and Departments to confirm attendance in relation to visa requirements and payment benefits or subsidies.

Assessment

All programs delivered within the RTO division of SELC are assessed under the “Principles of Competency Based Training”.

Competency Based Training means assessing the candidate’s/trainee’s ability to ‘do’ a task. However, at times this ability to ‘do’ a task also requires a demonstration of a certain level of underpinning knowledge. Therefore, assessment is based on your demonstration of practical skills and required knowledge.

Your assessor will assess your ‘competence’ or ability in each unit of the course through a series of assessment tasks. You will receive an assessment decision of ‘Competent’ or ‘Not Yet Competent’ for each assessment task which is then used to judge your competency in each unit of the course. A Unit of Competence (Competency) is made up of the skills, knowledge and attitudes that are required to complete a task in a work environment.

All assessment results are recorded. Trainees will be notified of results in each assessment task and receive a feedback form as well as have access to their assessment records throughout the course.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the formal acknowledgment of skills, knowledge and attitudes (elements of competencies) obtained through formal and informal training, study, work and life experience.

RPL can be given where formal study in a previously completed course has lead to a person demonstrating the same competencies as those that will be developed by doing the course in question.

RPL can also be given where a person has evidence that key competencies have been developed in situations outside of formal learning situations, e.g. at work, or by observation, reading or working as a volunteer in sporting, church or community based organisations.

15.1 Steps to follow to apply for RPL

  1. Request ‘RPL Application Form’ and arrange an interview with the course coordinator.
  2. Attend interview and submit completed ‘RPL Application Form’ with supporting evidence and payment of RPL application fee.
  3. Application is assessed.
  4. You will be advised within 28 days of the cost for processing and formal assessment.
  5. Decide if you would like the formal assessment process to go ahead.
  6. If yes, arrangements will be made for formal assessment and/or requests for further evidence for assessment to be supplied (depending on what is applicable).
  7. Formal assessment takes place or further evidence for assessment is supplied.
  8. Result of assessment, with explanations, is provided within 21 days through an ‘RPL result letter’. This letter also sets out the extent of recognition and the implications for assessment on the relevant course.
  9. If you were unsuccessful with your RPL application, you can contact the Course Coordinator. You have a right to appeal if you believe your assessment is incorrect. Please refer to the ‘SELC Assessment Review and Appeals Policy.’

For further information on RPL you can consult the ‘SELC Guide to Applying for RPL’ and ‘SELC RPL Policy’ documents.

Issuing of Certificates, Qualifications and Statements of Attainment

16.1 SELC as an ELICOS Provider

SELC is a CRICOS approved, NEAS accredited English language provider and a member of English Australia, the peak body for English language schools in Australia. When completing an ELICOS course at SELC students will receive a SELC certificate indicating the title of the course completed, their level of English, the breakdown of their skills and an overall performance mark. This certificate will be issued on the student’s final day at SELC and our CRICOS Code, legal trading name and signature from the DoS are all present on the certificate.

Some ELICOS courses at SELC provide preparation for external examinations such as Cambridge, IELTS or TOEIC. Students completing these courses will receive a SELC certificate but will need to complete the external examinations successfully to receive a certificate from the relevant external body.

SELC as an RTO (not yet applicable)

SELC is also a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and provides Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses under the ‘Nationally Recognised Training’ logo. For our VET courses a formal course code should be given to identify the exact accredited course or unit of competency being delivered. If you are not sure, please ask.

If you complete your training and demonstrate competence in the Course or Unit, a Qualification (for a full Course) or Statement of Attainment (for a Unit, or number of Units, as part of a full Course) will be issued within twenty one (21) days of completion. This certificate will contain the course code, units attained or qualification gained, SELC’s NTIS provider number and the ‘Nationally Recognised Training’ and ‘VETAB’ logos.

Delivery/Training Strategy

Every SELC course, whether ELICOS or VET based, has been planned and designed to maximise the learning opportunities for our students. However, there can be considerable variations in the delivery plan and training and assessment strategies between courses so it is important for you to know the following information about a course before you choose to enrol:

  • English entry requirements for the course
  • Course duration
  • Timing and frequency of face-to-face sessions
  • Approximate amount of independent study you will need to do
  • Type of assessment tasks and approximate time required to complete them
  • Deadlines for assessment
  • Practical components of the course
  • Qualifications the course provides

In line with SELC’s Access and Equity Policy we will attempt to be as flexible as possible in delivering a course that best suits your education and training needs. However, we must also balance your needs with the needs of other students. If you have specific education/training and assessment needs please let SELC know as soon as possible, preferably before enrolment.

If, during a course you feel that our delivery plan and/or training and assessment strategies could be changed to further maximise your learning opportunities please make these suggestions to your teachers/trainers or course coordinators. As stated earlier, and to paraphrase our mission statement, SELC’s main objective is to provide ‘high quality learning opportunities which enable our clients to achieve their individual academic goals.’ Therefore, any suggestions on how this may be better achieved are always welcome.

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